They serve a purpose but could potentially splinter the web.
Over the long holiday weekend the U.S. government seized a number of domain names that were allegedly being used for piracy.
I tend to agree with Elliot that there’s not much for the typical domain name owner to worry about. If you’re not doing anything illegal you shouldn’t worry. Your domain names are not at risk.
But here’s the rub. What’s legal in one place isn’t necessary legal in another. And what the U.S. government is doing could eventually fracture the web, which would put all domains at risk.
How can we tell China not to censor the web? They can point to the U.S. and say we’re doing the same thing.
Should Australia go ahead with its internet firewall? How different is that from seizing domain names?
Should Middle Eastern countries block adult sites?
It’s true that these other locations would have a tough time seizing domain names. It’s easier for the U.S. government given the location of the .com registry and many of the registrars. But they can take other approaches. These various approaches could end up fracturing the domain name system at its core.
I’m not saying it’s wrong for these web sites to be shut down. My worry is the message this sends to the rest of the world.